The knowledge of Acupressure charts is the foundation of every acupuncture or acupressure session in horses. In this article, I will explain to you the trajectory of the equine liver meridian as well as its most powerful points and how to treat them. Let’s dive right in!
Acupressure Points on the Equine Liver Meridian
The Liver meridian is the Yin meridian of the Wood element. It travels from the inner coronary band of the hind leg toward the groin area and crosses the over to the lateral side, where it terminates.
The Liver Merdian in Horses
Clinical Application of Pressure Points
- LIV 01 – local point for orthopedic issues of the lower hind leg, problems along the meridian.
- LIV 03 – Very powerful point for treating pain in combination with LI 04, calming down Liver issues (TCM), and orthopedic problems with stagnating Qi.
- LIV 13 – Mu point for the Spleen, powerful point for treating digestive problems and Yin deficiency.
- LIV 14 – Mu point for the Liver, muscle tension, liver, and stomach issues.
How to treat Acupressure Points in the Horse
There are multiple different ways how to work with acupuncture points. Professional practitioners use needles or acupuncture lasers to stimulate them. But you can achieve a beneficial effect by massaging them with your hand as well. This technique is called acupressure.
Massage Techniques for Acupressure
During acupressure, you will use your hands to be aware of any changes happening in the body. These could either be an existing blockage or the free flow of Qi after removing a blockage by acupressure treatment. Learning to sense what the body is communicating takes practice. You can educate your hands by focusing on the various sensations experienced during these sessions and by learning what the sensations indicate.
- The One-Finger Technique: During this technique, you’ll use the finger pad of your thumb. Place it on the acupressure point and apply gentle pressure to it. Depending on the location, you can gently move your thumb and work a little bit deeper into the tissue. This technique is best used on fleshy, well-muscled body parts or on the legs.
- The Two-Finger Technique: To perform this technique, place your middle finger over the nail on your pointer finger and apply gentle pressure on your horse’s body surface. This technique works very well in the back area.
Practise, Practise, Practise!
The meridians and acupoints that will be treated are just under the skin, so you only need to apply gentle pressure. Extreme pressure could cause additional pain. If your horse ever shows signs of discomfort at any point, stop to apply pressure and move on to a different area.
If you are unable to feel changes in your horse’s body at first, that’s ok! It takes time to learn how to feel the sensation of moving Qi and removing blockages through the hands. Simply apply gentle pressure to the acupoint for approximately 30 seconds. If you don’t manage to stay on the point for the full 30 seconds, don’t worry, that’s ok too, it will still work. While performing your acupressure session, look for signs in your horse.
ACU-HORSE: Guide to Equine Acupressure provides you with a step-by-step guide to performing an acupressure session with your horse. Also, this full-color, 230-page equine acupressure book offers tons of charts and photos to help you learn equine acupressure.
ACU-DOG: Guide to Canine Acupressure gives a step-by-step guide to an acupressure session with color photos and charts. It explains how to apply Chinese medicine theories, plus active descriptions and photos of hands-on techniques.
How do I Know it’s Working?
Your horse’s body will give you clear signs that your massage is having a positive effect on their well-being. Releasing blockages and promoting the free flow of Qi will make your horse gradually relax and show you release signs such as:
- Playing with their tongue
- Blinking with their eyes
- Releasing tension by shifting weight from one leg to the other
The Five Elements
The Five Elements theory forms the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Each of the five elements Wood, Fire, Earth, Water, and Metal include subcategories such as climate, body tissue, emotion, internal organ…
You can find more information on the five elements here.
The five-element system also applies to your dog’s personality and physical constitution. Every horse can be categorized into one of the five elements. This gives us more information on dietary preferences and disease predispositions.
The Wood Element Horse
Wood-element horses are thin and robust. They react fast to external stimuli, but they tend to be impatient and become angry very quickly. Wood-type horses are always alert, dominant, and capable of performing at high levels when they want to. Most warmblood horses are wood-typed.
Predispositions: Allergies, aggressive behavior.
Do you want to learn more about acupuncture points and acupressure? Don’t miss my Canine Acupressure Workbook on acupressure for dogs!